Can you name anything more delish than homemade pizza? No, I didn’t think so. There’s something really magical about making pizza from scratch. It makes me feel like Superwoman in the kitchen, especially on those days when you want to make something amazing without a lot of effort. The hardest part is making the dough, which literally, is the easiest thing In. The. World. So if you haven’t made your own pizza dough before, get your life together, go read my pizza dough recipe, and make it. Seriously. Or if you must, stop at your local pizzeria and pick up a dough ball, they’re usually less than $3.
Now, believe it or not, but I’ve never been a big pizza fan (GASP)! I know, I know, but let’s be honest. There’s a whole lot of crappy pizza out there. I guess I just didn’t get the big deal. Now this stuff right here, this is a BIG deal. Once I realized how good pizza could be, I was hooked. I promise you that after this, you’ll be hooked too.
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to grease pan
1/2 recipe Homemade Pizza Dough or 1 pound store-bought
1/3 cup of your favorite jarred marinara sauce (or make your own, if you’re fancy like that)
1 (8-ounce) ball fresh mozzarella, water drained
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
15-20 fresh basil leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
First thing’s first, heat your oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. You need a super hot oven to get an authentic, crispy pizza crust. If you have a pizza stone, use it! Place it in a cold oven, and then turn it on, to prevent it from cracking. If you don’t have a pizza stone, place a sheet pan in the oven to heat up while you prepare the pie.
Next, flour your board or working surface, as this stuff is uber sticky. Form your dough into a neat ball and plop your dough onto the flour, covering both sides well.
Now, working from the inside out, push and stretch the dough with the tips of your fingers, until you get a nice round circle. It doesn’t have to be super thin yet, we will accomplish that with a rolling pin. You just want to coax it into a flat , circular disc.
Now, using a rolling pin, roll out your dough from the center out, rotating occasionally to maintain the circle shape. Once it’s about a 1/4″ thick, you’re ready for toppings. Note: Extremely cold dough can retract quite a bit, so for best stretching/rolling results, use room temperature dough.
Next, brush a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil onto the pie. This will create a barrier between the dough and the marinara sauce, preventing your pizza from getting soggy.
Pour your marinara sauce into the center, and smooth it out into a thin layer. Bring it almost to the edge. Don’t overdo it! Otherwise you’ll end up with a soggy blob. You want a thin layer, just enough to keep the dough moist, but you should still be able to see the dough below…
Now comes the fun part! Slice up your mozzarella using a serrated knife and lay it in a circular pattern, like so. As the pizza cooks, the mozzarella discs will melt and spread out.
Next, take your basil leaves and arrange them on the cheese, and in the sauce as such. Alternatively, you can chiffonade the basil, and sprinkle it all over the pie. Season your pie with a light sprinkle salt and pepper.
And finally, sprinkle on your grated Parmigiano Reggiano.
Now pick up your cutting board, and slide your pizza onto your pizza stone or hot, greased sheet pan (very gingerly)! I use a large pizza peel to slide the pizza onto the stone. Otherwise, you can actually assemble the pizza on top of the preheated pizza stone or pan.
Bake for 10-15 minutes, until your desired crunchiness is achieved. Then marvel in your pizza making glory!